Bad Weather But Still Great Birds A Valentines Day Birdwatching Trips Tour

14 February 2020 Best of Anglesey Birdwatching Trips Tour

Firecrest Cornwall Oct 1

A beautiful Firecrest was one of the many highlights on this superb tour.

Brian and Dale had travelled a long way for their day out in North Wales, from the North-East of England and Scotland no less. So, despite an awful weather forecast both were very keen to make the most of the pre-booked day. We always like to stick to plan A where possible and relished the challenge of finding lots of birds for Brian and Dale. Picking them up, from their Llandudno B&B, at 8am we headed west for Anglesey. The wind was picking up and the sky was grey and low. First stop Gors Ddyga and the wind was now really blowing. The flooded fields held lots of wildfowl – Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Grey-lag Geese. A Marsh Harrier was blown around over the meadows west of the main track then a female shot across the fields on the east side, which way to look!

Mediterranean Gull

Mediterranean Gull was a species Brain and Dale had hoped to see.

We moved on to Valley and a large flooded field held lots of birds, flocks of Redshank were joined by five Black-tailed Godwits and two Curlew, more Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler here too. A fine adult Mediterranean Gull landed on the flood water amongst a small group of Black-headed Gulls, great to compare these similar species.

Just up the road we stopped at Beddmanarch Bay and quickly saw beautiful Pale-bellied Brent Geese very close to the parking area. Further out were lots of waders on the wind-blown mudflats, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatchers all searched for food ahead of the in-coming -tide. A Slavonian Grebe repeatedly dived in the channel but was very tricky to see in the rough water.

Next we headed north to Cemlyn on the coast where a lagoon lies behind a shingle beach. The weather was much worse here! Gale force winds smashed the rain into our faces and perhaps not surprisingly we could not see a single bird in the bay. Moving to the lagoon we could just about keep the telescope still enough to make out two Long-tailed Ducks diving near three Goldeneye which were also diving in the shallow waters. Long-tailed Ducks are scarce visitors to North Wales so wonderful to see these birds even in poor weather. We again tried viewing the bay from the west side, where we had shelter from some derelict buildings and the rain had stopped so much better. A Great Northern Diver showed very well through the telescope – luckily staying on the surface and not diving!

We enjoyed a lovely lunch and went over the check-list and were very pleased indeed with the variety of birds we had enjoyed despite the at times very grim weather. Lunch done we set off again and luckily the rain had gone and there was even some brightness in the sky. We had really great looks at Turnstones and Rock Pipits as huge waves smashed over the adjacent rocks. A Raven put on a real flying display for us in the gale, a real master of its environment.

At Holyhead Harbour we had super views of another Great Northern Diver, in sunshine, along with Razorbill and a full-breeding plumaged Black Guillemot. A quick stop at RSPB Valley Wetlands added Pochard, Tufted Duck, Coot and Canada Goose to our impressive day list. With the wind still gale force we decided to head back to the mainland in the hope of finding some shelter.

At Aber Ogwen it was indeed sheltered and we walked towards the hide over-looking the estuary. We saw a movement in the low brambles to the right of the path, Firecrest! This tiny gem of a bird was feeding just feet away and allowed us the most amazing views! Always a thrill to see one of these beautiful colourful birds but have prolonged close views like this was very special indeed! We were all thrilled.

At the hide the feeders were busy with birds including Siskins, Long-tailed Tits and Great Spotted Woodpecker. On the pool we enjoyed close views of Little Grebe and Little Egret and then best of all a wonderful Water Rail so close we could see every feather detail! What a super bird to see so well. We were very happy with our decision to seek a more sheltered spot for our birding. We headed back to Llandudno very happy indeed with some wonderful memories of amazing birds, despite some awful weather! Plan A had proved a good one. We hope we can enjoy more birds with Dale and Brian in the future.

PS we did! Meeting up with the guys the next morning for some birding on the Great Orme where we enjoyed Peregrines, Fulmars, Common Guillemots, Red-throated Divers and more before the rain set in at 9am.


We have had two people cancel their places, due to medical problems, on our five day Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips tour 21 - 25 March 2020. We will be looking for all the special birds that North Wales has to offer come and join us. Contact us now for a special deal as it is short notice. We know you will love this tour. We will be looking for Black Grouse, Goshawk, Hawfinch, Chough, Dipper, Snow Bunting, Purple Sandpiper, Firecrest, Black Guillemot, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Brent Geese, Mediterranean Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Pink-footed Geese and many more! Expect to enjoy over 120 species and a lot of fun! Staying a lovely country hotel with a warm welcome and great food, come and join us.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and if you have any questions at all please fire away here….

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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